Furniture, Downsizing and Making Life Simple

Moving to a smaller space? Here are some tips on how to downsize

Credit: Bonnie Wilson

Downsize in three easy steps

Nearly every day at the store I have a conversation with someone about downsizing to a smaller home.

Generally – and in varying degrees – ‘downsizers’ keep some of their old furniture and buy some new furniture.

Downsizing can be broken down into three basic steps and each step is all about editing.

Credit: Bonnie Wilson

Step One: Decide what furniture you want to get rid of and how to get rid of it.

Go through your home and decide what furniture you can part with and what you want to keep (categorizing each piece into “yes”, “no” or “maybe” is a good place to start).

Here are some ways to get rid of furniture you don’t want:

1. Give away or sell to family or friends.

2. Sell on websites like Craigslist.

  • Pros: Large market
  • Cons: Shoppers are looking for a bargain

3. Sell through consignment stores, like Consignment Canada.

  • Pros: Most are not picky on what they will take
  • Cons: Pieces may not sell or take a long time to sell, or sell for less than you were hoping

4. Sell to antique/vintage furniture stores, like Gild & Co.

  • Pros: Will pay for highly desired items
  • Cons: Picky on what they will take

5. Sell through a local auction house, like Maynard’s or Love’s.

  • Pros: Potential for high selling price
  • Cons: Auctions fees (generally around 20%); no guarantee items will sell at a high price

What used furniture sells well?

  • Anything Danish or mid century modern
  • Small dressers
  • Medium size dressers, especially if the drawers work well
  • Bedside and side tables

What used furniture doesn’t sell well?

  • Dining tables
  • Dining chairs
  • High-shine dark wood furniture
  • Sideboards, hutches or large buffets
  • Antique or large coffee tables

What used furniture is hit or miss when selling?

  • Mirrors
  • Large dressers
  • Sofas and upholstered chairs, depending on condition and fabric

Credit: Bonnie Wilson

Step Two: Incorporate house-sized furniture in your new smaller home.


Hang on to dressers, especially smaller ones, for your small space. You will need the extra storage.

Think outside the box on where a dresser can fit in your new smaller home. They can offer great storage in a living room or foyer.

Mirrors and Art

Every small home in Vancouver needs a large mirror, to increase light and make a space feel larger.

Your house-sized art will also fit fine into a smaller space. You just need less of it.


Condos or small living rooms generally fit a sofa that is 70 to 80 inches in length. Go as big as you can for maximum comfort and seating. A common mistake is going too small. A loveseat around 50 to 60 inches is too small.

Credit: Bonnie Wilson

Step Three: What to look for when buying new pieces.

Look for double-duty items, such coffee tables that have storage (think vintage trunk) and chairs that can be used in the dining area and living room.

Keep leggy furniture to a minimum. Too many chair, table and sofa legs in a room will make it feel cluttered.

Get the biggest area rug you can afford. 4×6 or 5×8 rugs are generally too small, even for condo-size living rooms and will make a room look smaller.

Wall-mount anything you can, like a desk or eating bar. This will clear much-needed floor space and give other items room to breathe.

Don’t skimp on lighting. Lighting is crucial in any room, especially a small area where every inch of space is important. Chandeliers are also fantastic in small spaces. When placed in a bedroom or living room, a beautiful chandelier gives that feeling of living large.